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Claiming that an employee was terminated for cause when they were in fact laid off for economic reasons can give rise to a claim for defamation if it is possible or the employee to prove that they lost a job offer or suffered some other sort of financial loss as a result of the statement.
The best course of action in this circumstance is a strongly worded "cease and desist" letter from a local attorney advising of the above. Employers have nothing to gain from making negative statements about former employees, aside from retribution, and that is not worth the cost of being sued, as lawsuits can cost tens of thousands of dollars to defend, not to mention the employer's exposure for a judgment in the employee's favor. Any proof you may have that you were not laid off for cause (i.e. emails talking about your layoff, good recommendations, the compensation program you mention, etc.) should be referenced if not included in the letter to show what support you have for a defamation claim.
See here to locate an attorney in your area who can draft the letter.
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